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Natural Pest Control – Good For You And The Environment, Bad For The Bugs
Scientists tell us that we share our planet with more insects and arachnids than all the other inhabitants combined. Scientists will also tell you that we need all those creeping, crawling, flying, six and eight-legged beasties for the life and health of the planet and its citizens, including ourselves. That’s fine with most of us, I suppose, as long as we don’t have to share our immediate living space with any of them. Scientists have also told us, though, that many of the chemicals that will rid our homes and offices of ants, spiders, roaches, and whatnot are harmful. They can be dangerous to us, to our pets, and to the environment in general. So how do we rid ourselves and our spaces of the bugs that bug us so much? By harnessing the power of nature’s own repellents! natural pest control
Most of the natural ingredients used in the pest control formulas listed in this article can be found in the grocery store or pharmacy. In fact, you may already have many of them in your home right now. This makes natural pest control easy to implement and easy on your wallet, as well. That’s something expensive professional exterminators don’t want you to know.
Roaches are the tough guys of the bug world. Supposedly, they can withstand an atomic blast, right? And right now you’re thinking you’ll never be able to control the nastiest of the nasties with anything natural. Well, look no further than your local pet store. It seems roaches don’t like catnip! That’s right, that little dried weed that gets Fluffy crazy-drunk repels roaches. Simmer some catnip in a pot of water and then cool. Place this ‘tea’ in a spray bottle and spritz along with cupboards and floorboards where roaches like to travel. Catnip sachets made with little squares of cheesecloth can be placed on top of the fridge, in between the cabinets and the ceiling, and in other high places where spritzing can be difficult. Fluffy may just have to get used to the constant high in the kitchen, although other cats have not seemed to notice it in their homes. Of course, the best deterrent for roaches is cleanliness -before you start spritzing, vacuum the floors and wash down all surfaces with good, hot soapy water. Keeping food and dirty dishes off counters and out of sinks may be your easiest and most natural defense against cockroaches.
Ants at a picnic are one thing. Ants at a dinner party are another. Ants can be extremely difficult to get rid of because the colony can be quite large – large, hungry and always on the lookout for more food. Again, your best, and first, line of defense is to remove what they’re looking for. Keep open food and dirty dishes off the counters. Wash up any sticky spills and spots. Put the honey, pancake syrup and jelly containers in the fridge or in plastic storage bags – the ‘zippered’ type work best. Eliminate their source of water by stopping all leaks and drips and not leaving any dishes soaking overnight. Now, your next important step in the natural war on ants is to find their point of entry or the closest point of flat surface to their point of entry. Once you’ve discovered where they’re coming in, you have a few choices. Ants don’t like cayenne pepper or cloves, so sprinkling a line of either on your counter or floor near their trail should deter them from coming in. A piece of string or yarn can be soaked in citrus oil, cinnamon oil or lemon juice and placed into cracks where ants enter. Line a windowsill or countertop with coffee grounds. Live ants are stopped with a spritz of soapy water. Ants on a deck or porch outdoors can be diverted by placing garlic cloves in between the floorboards. Mint leaves, even herbal mint tea bags, can be placed in areas where ants are known to travel. So, pick one of the above, or try several. Send them scouting elsewhere!
Spiders are not only a nuisance but also a health hazard, as well. Brown recluse bites can cause death, amputation, and disfigurement. Black widows have been known to make victims ill, (though no one has died from a black widow bite in the US in the last ten years.) In short, they may keep other insects like flies and moths at bay, but they can be risky to have around. Spiders, by nature, are a bit harder to be rid of, as they like to live in out-of-the-way, hard-to-access places. They take a bit more precaution, too, on your part. Remember to always wear long sleeves, pants and gloves when searching and destroying spider habitats. Spiders like the dark spaces under beds, couches, and chairs. They love any little crack in brick or paneled walls. They also love to hide in the cracks between the woodwork and the doors and windows of our homes. If a broom can’t reach them, try the vacuum hose with the crevice tool attachment. Spiders like to hide in clutter and clothing that’s been lying about, as well, so it’s best to keep things picked up. Spray spiders directly with one of the following essential oils: rose, citronella, lavender, peppermint, cinnamon, tea tree or citrus. Mix 5 tablespoons of any of the above oils with 5 tablespoons natural lavender soap in a quart of water to create a spider repellent spray. This can be used to spray the foundation of your home, around windows and doors, even inside the outside trash bins to keep the pesky eight-legged critters out of your space.
Pest control needn’t be smelly, dangerous chemicals, and high exterminating bills. You can keep your home free of pests and free of environmental dangers, too.